I have just finished a novel by British author, Sarah Dunant, titled Sacred Hearts. The read was a time-machine. The novel is set in 1570 and is set inside the walls of an Italian covent. It was a treatise in part on the shackles young women had to bear then, and how those bindings limited their life experiences. The novel also revealed the interior workings of the covent and how, it both thwarted the off-cast women, and encouraged their passions and intelligence.
The intricate Renaissance world is exposed admist a passionate love story, stories of love and friendship, horror, and the biting political climate of the Counter-Reformation. It is also a story that at its core is about secrets.